Both DPReview and Imaging Resource had the rare opportunity to visit Canon’s primary lens factory. The Utsunomiya lens factory – about 80 miles north of Tokyo – is where Canon assembles all its “L” lenses. Both articles offer a pretty interesting journey into the Utsunomiya lens factory, accompanied by plenty of pictures and insights. Definitely worth to have a look.
DPReview also posted an interview with Canon execs taken at the Utsunomiya lens factory. Some excerpts from the interview:
What percentage of L lenses are manufactured in the Utsunomiya lens plant?
Because this is the ‘mother’ factory, 100% of L lenses are made here.
How many different lenses can be manufactured simultaneously in this plant?
Basically, we create all lenses every day [including L-series EF, Cinema EOS and broadcast]. The only exception is some of the broadcast lenses.
Which lenses in particular are the most difficult to manufacture and why?
Any large super telephoto lenses because of the size of the glass elements. In terms of skill required for lens assembly: the TV broadcast lenses are most difficult.
How many lenses are produced at this lens plant every year, both in terms of types of lenses and total units?
We do not disclose total production for this plant. That said, Canon has produced a total of 120 million lenses over the years. Of course, many of those are kit lenses, which are not produced here, but in our facility in Taiwan.